Dynamic pore-scale network modeling of spontaneous water imbibition in shale and tight reservoirs

Xiukun Wang, James J. Sheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Spontaneous water imbibition plays an imperative role in the development of shale or tight oil reservoirs. Spontaneous water imbibition is helpful in the extraction of crude oil from the matrix, although it decreases the relative permeability of the hydrocarbon phase dramatically. The dynamic pore-scale network modeling of water imbibition in shale and tight reservoirs is presented in this work; pore network generation, local capillary pressure function, conductance calculation and boundary conditions for imbibition are all presented in detail in this paper. The pore network is generated based on the characteristics of Barnett shale formations, and the corresponding laboratory imbibition experiments are matched using this established dynamic pore network model. The effects of the wettability, throat aspect ratio, viscosity, shape factor, micro-fractures, etc. are all investigated in this work. Attempts are made to investigate the water imbibition mechanisms from a micro-scale perspective. According to the simulated results, wettability dominates the imbibition characteristics. Besides this, the viscous effects including viscosity, initial capillary pressure and micro-fractures increase the imbibition rate, while the final recovery factor is more controlled by the capillarity effect including the cross-area shape factor, contact angle and the average pore-throat aspect ratio.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4709
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 2020


  • Dynamic pore network modeling
  • Shale reservoirs
  • Water imbibition


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